La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

The Twins closer is.......Jon Rauch

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 2, 2010 - 4:23 PM

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire just announced that Jon Rauch will be the closer when the regular season begins on Monday in Anaheim.

He announced over the weekend that he would try a closer-by-committee approach, but it is not surprising that he opted for a more structured system. Gardenhire pointed out that their bullpen has operated well when everyone knows their roles.

Rauch, 31, has 26 career saves, including 17 with Washington in 2008. He's not overpowering but should make up for that with mentality and demeanor.

``You lose a closer and you have to ad lib a little bit,  we all know that.'' Gardenhire said. ``The best thing is for us to get on our way here and this guy is our closer and we'll go from there and see what happens.''

Gardenhire said that Rauch is eager to prove he's up for the challenge.

Matt Guerrier, Jose Mijares and Jesse Crain will serve as the main set up men,with Pat Neshek, Clay Condrey and Brian Duensing in the wings.

 Gardy said his starters should get two or three at-bats before the reserves enter the game. First baseman Brock Peterson is fired  up. ``I want to be the first one to jack one (homer) in here,'' he said.



1. Skip Schumaker, 2B
2, Brendan Ryan, SS
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Matt Holliday, LF
5. Colby Rasmus, CF
6. Ryan Ludwick, RF
7. Felipe Lopez, DH
8. David Freese, 3B
9. Matt Pagnozz, C

RHP Kyle Lohse


1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
6. Jason Kubel, DH
7. Delmon Young, LF
8. J.J. Hardy, SS
9. Nick Punto, 2B

RHP Carl Pavano


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